Sereno: Submission to impeach process is to defend judicial independence

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2017 04:19 PM

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. ABS-CBN News/File photo

MANILA- Embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday said she submitted herself to the impeachment process to defend the independence of the judiciary.

In a speech, Sereno reiterated that the allegations against her have no "sufficient basis."

“I have submitted myself to this process according to the rights that are accorded anyone in my position, and I hope that you have taken it all in good faith that that is my intent--to defend the dignity and independence of the judiciary," she said at the 14th Metrobank Professorial Lecture on Judicial Accountability and Disciplinary Action held at the Supreme Court. 

The Chief Justice has not attended any of the impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives but sent her team of lawyers to represent her.

“In various fora, I have already tried to encapsulate in very, very brief form why the charges against me, in fact, bear no sufficient basis,” Sereno said.

Sereno is accused by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and other high crimes. 

The House Justice Committee had found the complaint sufficient in form and substance, and is conducting hearings to determine whether there is probable cause to try Sereno before the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court.

The top magistrate on Thursday reiterated her plea for officials and employees of the judiciary to focus on their work, and not be distracted by the impeachment proceedings.

"What I just want you to do, and I had actually asked the members of the judiciary this, are just three things: continue your work undistracted, professionally, and excellently as you have been doing in the past; monitor and watch and be on the lookout for the hallmarks of independence, integrity, and the dignity of the judiciary to be preserved; and continue to pray,” she said.

“There is much to be done for this country. Our country is crying for justice, and above all, may we continue to trust the Almighty God,” she added.